The 2019 Toyota RAV4 Is on CarComplaints’ Top 3 Worst Vehicles List

The Toyota RAV4 is the most popular small SUV in America. However, problems plague the 2019 Toyota RAV4. So, is buying a used Toyota RAV4 a good idea anyway?

2019 Toyota RAV4 problems

2019 Toyota RAV4 problems
2019 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

CarComplaints.com tracks owner-reported problems for numerous vehicles, including the 2019 Toyota RAV4. Overall, reported concerns run the gamut, from minor issues like sun visor vibration noise to costly problems like engine and transmission failure. The most common reported 2019 RAV4 problem involves the transmission, but reported engine issues also frequently occur. 

2019 Toyota RAV4 owners have reported 56 incidences of transmission problems. Forty-nine reports are listed as “hesitates and lurches at slower speeds” and three as “shifting roughly.” Other issues — such as “check engine light on,” “hard to accelerate,” “gear stuck at park,” “rear differential assay and automatic transmission,” and “slipping” — received one complaint each. The good news is that reprogramming the RAV4’s electronic control module (ECM), which takes about 90 minutes at an authorized dealer service center, solved most of the issues. 

In addition, 2019 RAV4 owners lodged 11 complaints for engine problems, with six of those reports for “loud acceleration” within the first 1,000 miles of ownership and one report of “loud engine” within the first 5,000 miles. CarComplaints.com doesn’t list a fix for this issue, but one owner reported a lack of sound-deadening insulation under the hood. 

The 2019 model is the 3rd-worst car according to CarComplaints.com

2019 Toyota RAV4 used Toyota RAV4
2019 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

CarComplaints.com ranks the 20 worst cars “based on an algorithm that factors in average mileage at failure, cost to fix and repair, relative complaints analysis, and owners’ ranking.” The 2019 Toyota RAV4 placed third on the list, behind the 2003 Honda Accord and 2002 Ford Explorer.

The 2003 Honda Accord is the second-worst car on the list, with transmission problems prompting the most owner complaints. The second-biggest issue reported by 2003 Accord owners concerns the car’s stereo system. 

The worst vehicle on the list is the 2002 Ford Explorer. As with the 2003 Accord and 2019 RAV4, 2002 Explorer owners complained most about transmission problems. The second largest group of complaints centers on a cracked interior panel below the rear window.

What is a good year for a used Toyota RAV4?

It’s interesting to note that 2019 is the first year Toyota built the RAV4 in the United States. And as with any new process, it often takes time to get it right. Nevertheless, the automaker seemed to have fixed the 2019 model problems because 2020 Toyota RAV4 owners reported only 14 concerns to CarComplaints.com, the most common being a dead battery. 2021 RAV4 owners have submitted three problems, and 2022 RAV4 owners haven’t lodged any complaints as of this writing. 

Perhaps the best advice when shopping for a used Toyota RAV4 is to avoid the 2019 model. Even the 2018 model has fewer complaints spread among various issues, unlike the 2019’s cluster of transmission difficulties. And newer models indicate Toyota appears to have solved most of the major problems while continuing production in the United States. 

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